InnerPlant, the seed technology company enabling the earliest possible detection of stress in crops to make farming more efficient and sustainable, and GROWMARK, an agricultural cooperative serving almost 400,000 customers across North America, announced the launch of a sentinel project featuring InnerSoy, a soybean engineered to signal optically when under attack by fungi.
The program will see GROWMARK establish small plots of InnerSoy throughout the Midwest in 2024 with an expanded number of plots over the next three years. The plots will act as ″sentinels″ to provide early warning of fungal infestation and help refine InnerPlant’s initial go-to-market strategy.
″GROWMARK’s focus on providing farmers with the tools they need to efficiently and sustainably feed the world makes them an ideal partner for our in-field pilot,″ explains Dan Garblik, InnerPlant’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Finance. ″Working with their experts will help us explore ways we can provide value to their farmer customers, as well as understand and optimize real-world operations.″
InnerPlant genetically engineers plants to emit optical signals when the plants are stressed from a lack of water or nutrients or under attack from pathogens, like fungi. The signals are detectable from as far away as space and show stress as much as two weeks before existing technologies giving farmers the earliest warning possible to optimize action and protect their crops.
The program will establish a number of sentinel plots located near production soybean farms to provide precision scouting and improved agronomic intelligence. As a trusted advisor to farmers, GROWMARK will use the improved data to augment existing tools, such as spore cams, remote sensing, and manual in-field scouting to make better prescriptions and crop protection recommendations.
″Farmers face a tremendous amount of risk from the weather, geopolitical events, and pathogens,″ points out GROWMARK CEO Mark Orr. ″This pilot gives our farmer-customers first access to cutting-edge technology that taps directly into plant physiology to give them critical data they need to mitigate some of that risk and better protect their crops.″
Data gathered during the sentinel program will demonstrate the value of early detection and early action of InnerSoy that will enable plant-by-plant management.